Saturday, January 28, 2006

Top 10 Entrepreneurs from Inc Reader Poll

Inc magazine has posted their reader polls on the top Entreprenerus of 2005.

Here's a link to the slide show on Inc's web site:

Here's a list of the top 10 entrepreneurs:

Doug Doucey
Cold Stone Creamery
Tempe Arizona

Mitch Free
Atlanta, GA

Issamar Ginzberg
Magnate Equities
Lakewood, New Jersey

Evan Goldberg
San Mateo, California

Josh Linker
Pleasant Ridge, Michigan

Jessica Marvin
Art in History
Old Hickory, TN

Scott McDonald
The Wall Company
Gilbert Arizona

Layne Sapp
Mountlake Terrace, Washington

Raul Valdes-Perez
Pittsburgh PA

Todd Woloson
IZZE beverage Company
Boulder Colorado

When you build a stronger business, it's good to have inspirational models to learn from.

Check out their stories! Share what you learn.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Don’t Put the Phone Down on an Opportunity

When you’re busy at work, the tendency is to treat calls like a necessary nuisance. People deal with them quickly and efficiently instead of treating them as an opportunity, reports Inc. magazine article, “Caller; You’re on the Payroll”.

If people rewarded their callers’ interest and questions about getting into business, they might get the
opportunity to get involved in a potentially thriving business.

Janie Murrow, who owns an Omaha-based coffee retail/wholesale business MJ Java with her aunt, estimates that her policy of treating every call like a potential sales pitch was key to the 30% to 40% growth of its wholesale division.

Inspiration and opportunities come in many forms including a phone call. Make sure you answer and you’ll build a stronger business.

Friday, January 20, 2006

This is How to Give Customers Choices!

We live in an age of choices. Nothing could be more obvious when we're spending our money, so why is it that business marketerss forget so quickly when they're asking people to part with their own money?

Here's a powerful reminder of how a commodity product distiguishes itself through providing control (i.e. choices) to it's customers:

When a company like Dave's Insanity can go to the trouble to provide an adjustable intensity hot sauce to its customers, it shames business owners who don't take the time or trouble to apply their creativity to such products and services.

With a simple twist of the black dispenser, you can twist in one direction for a greater proportion of mild sauce for nachos or dial up the heat for your deadly chicken wings sauce.

Remember, innovation doesn't have to be complicated to be successful!

If you've got an example, do share via the comments section.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Check Out The Franklin 100 Program

Ben Franklin was one of America's first and most successful entrepreneurs.

He did so many things right, it's astounding that we don't pay more attention to the things he did to achieve financial independence, widespread influence, and time to pursue his interests and hobbies.

The Franklin 100 Program is a progam designed to address this question by applying Franklin's principles to today's business environment.

It's only for high-tech entrepreneurs living in the Greater Philadelphia area with at least 10 staff, so it's not for everyone.

But if that's of interest to you, check out the rest of the details at:

Disclosure: I have direct interests in this project.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tour the Macintosh BU at Microsoft

I love tours!

Here's a link to a virtual tour of the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft on David Weiss's blog:

It would be great to see an informal "get to know your work place" tour of your business.

Let me know if you've got one, so I can link to it from this blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pricing Follows Art and Science

A group of economists collaborated on a paper in the International Journal of Industrial Organization called “On the Use of Low-Price Guarantees to Discourage Price-Cutting,” a study that attempted to figure out the real figures behind retailer low price guarantees and discount strategies to determine what drives price matching offers. The study is documented in Hal R Varian’s article “Rethinking Why Crazy Eddie Wouldn’t Be Undersold and Other Mysteries” from The New York Times.

The study focused on tire prices advertised in 61 Sunday newspapers in autumn 1996 and the mixed results it produced.

In a sample of 213 ads, 98 contained a low-price guarantee. While 60% of the ads offer to beat their competitors’ prices, 40% offer to meet them. Some 80% of the price beating guarantees applied to advertised prices only.

If guarantees are being used to undermine price cutting from a rival, the two sellers with identical prices will both be inclined to offer a low-price guarantee.

If a retailer generally sells on low prices they won’t offer a low price guarantee. But a retailer with higher or equal prices to a competitor will offer a low price guarantee. A low price seller will only offer to match another retailer’s price 14% of the time, therefore reinforcing the theory the study is based on low price guarantees are motivated by the desire to discourage price cutting.

But some results did not conform to the theory. In 75% of the comparisons, it was low price retailers offering to match only the advertised price.

Although the theory holds for price-matching guarantees, it does not for price beating guarantees and guarantees that only pertain to advertised prices.

Sometimes, studies of tried and tested retail practices don’t immediately yield iron-clad answers. If you take the time to test conventional theories your findings may produce unexpected results that you learn from to build a stronger business.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Free Up Your Time by Eliminating the Negative

You can easily improve your life by limiting the amount of useless purchases and aggravations you allow into your life. The following items are just a few that clutter up your life, with suggestions on how to limit them:

  • Calls from telemarketers - Gain back your time by registering with the National Do Not Call Registry at (888-382-1222).
  • Antibacterial soap - Scientists have proven that antibacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap. A good, 20-30 second lather with any soap is effective.
  • ATM fees - Search out places that do not charge you an ATM fee. For instance, Citibank does not charge its customers to use other back's ATMs, Wawa does not add a surcharge, and many grocery stores and drugstores do not change you to take out cash when you are using your debit card for a purchase.

What else can you eliminate to free up your time and energy? Make these decisions to build a stronger business.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Traveling Smart

Traveling smart is a great way to save money and time. Here are some useful tips culled from recent U.S. News and World Reports articles by Christopher Elliott, Michelle Andrews, and Alex Kingsbury.

  • Prices will stay low on common destinations, due to carrier competition.
  • Search sites that connect you to many other sites, such as,, and
  • You can save money buy buying a ticket directly from the airline's site.
  • Bring anything you will want for the flight to prevent yourself from paying for things you already have.
  • Keep your luggage within the airline's guidelines to avoid paying extra fees.
  • Look into online agents. Sites such as Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity may charge a small fee; however, they commit to helping you if something goes wrong with your travel plans.
  • Earn points through various programs to use towards rewards at a later time.

Car Rental
  • Orbitz provides a fast car booking experience.
  • Understand what your personal insurance covers on a rental car. Consider paying with a Visa card, as all cars rented with this card will be covered.
  • Do a thorough examination of the car for dents before taking it off the lot. Photograph the car when you return it. This will provide proof of the condition the car was returned in.
  • Avoid pre-paying for gas through the rental office. This will cost you more than filling the car yourself, unless you return the car on "empty."
  • Enjoy renting an exciting car, such as the vehicles in Hertz's "Fun Collection."

  • Pay the full bill as early as possible. If you wait, you may incur extra charges, such as a fuel-related surcharge (up to $10 a day).
  • Check with a travel agent about repositioned ships. These have had to change their itineraries, usually due to weather, and therefore reduce their prices.
  • Make sure your trip is covered with cancellation insurance.
  • Hipper ships and low nightly rates can often be found at EasyCruise.

  • Calling a hotel at the last minute, or looking into or may allow you to access prices below the initial published rates.
  • Some hotel rooms, such as the Conrad London and select W Hotels, are coming equipped with an IPod docking station.

  • Amtrak offers a free companion fare for a parent and a child who is college-hunting. Visit

  • Carry the $3 Tide to Go stain remover pen to help stains disappear on the spot.
  • Joining a travel club will grant you access to free upgrades, spa visits, and luxury trips.
  • Research to learn about environmentally friendly trips.
  • offers a services where if you affix a sticker to your items, they'll cover the cost of having your items returned you to.

Build a stronger business by using tips that make you and your budget go further.